Wednesday, October 18, 2006
It’s hard to believe, but up until recently, I had not knit much with mohair. I had often thought of knitting a lacy shawl with mohair, but I was a bit apprehensive. I had read the dreaded horror stories of fixing mistakes in mohair. Still, mohair enchanted me. Three balls of Kid Silk Haze sat in the stash beckoning me. Back in the spring I purchased some Crystal Palace Kid Merino on sale. I bought five balls each in two different colorways, Ultra Blues and Painted Iris. I knew that they would become shawls one day, but which, I did not know. I like to knit lace, and I like to knit shawls. My first foray into charts was the Pacific Northwest Shawl from Fiber Trends. I had longed after the shawl for quite some time before I purchased the pattern and some Emerald Jaggerspun Zephyr. It is wonderfully written, and by the time I had finished I was a chart convert. It turned out to be a pretty big shawl. I did not know of Zephyr’s bloom factor. I loved the shawl. I loved knitting it. I danced around in it. With all that love going on, you know I ended up gifting it to someone I love. I knew that one day I would have to knit it again, but for me. Several times I’ve fished out the Iris Jaggerspun Zephyr from the stash, but each time something stopped me. It might have been an attempt to rid myself of the summer blahs that prompted me to begin this shawl; I do not remember, but I finally decided to turn mohair into lace. I cast off the last stitch on Saturday night. I shoved it back in the bag and waited for Monday. The shawl was a joy to knit and looked wonderful. Ah, but once lace leaves the needles, there is still magic to be done. Yes, this magic of which I speak is blocking. I enjoy blocking lace, and I really do believe it to be a kind of magic. I have wanted a set of blocking wires for so long. Of course, every time I’ve gotten ready to buy them, I end up buying yarn instead. I always reasoned that I have gotten by with the T-pins and allowed the call of the yarn to win. I’ve heard that one can use thin welding rods as blocking wires, but whenever I ask people about their source for them, I don’t get a response. I have heard of people making their own blocking wires, so I decided to give that a go. The PNW soaked in the sink while I began my adventure. I grabbed some stainless steel jewelry wire and sat on the floor. The larger gauge wire I had seemed to be the best choice. I had trouble straightening it. I finally had about eight, eighteen inch lengths of the wire that were fairly straight when I ran out of that wire. I knew this would not be enough. I picked up the spool of lighter gauge wire. I thought it might make do until I could buy more of the heavier stuff. I snipped off a length and began straightening it. This wasn’t going to work. I took hold of my safety wire pliers, put together two lengths of the lighter gauge wire, and twisted it. Oh, my goodness, children, I had stumbled upon what I needed. I snipped, twisted, and repeated. A few minutes later I was ready. Another time I will twist up more of the lighter wires and I will also do some finishing work on the ends. Until then, behold, the Pacific Northwest. This is so cool. And, yes, I did fix the bottom point of that, but I didn't get a picture. You can see the color better in this close-up detailing some of the lace.
at 10:04 PM